Choix des domaines d'êtudes dans les universités canadiennes

This study analyses what factors determine the field that students in Canadian universities choose to study. More specifically, we are interested in the effect that the expected lifetime income after obtaining a degree has on this choice. We build an anticipated income variable that takes into account the probability of a student being able to find a job within his/her field of study, in every domain. Using data from the National Graduates Survey (classes of 1986, 1990 and 1995), we evaluate the above-mentioned probability and matching incomes with the help of data available to students on the classes that came before them. Then, with a multinomial logit (mixed) model, we estimate the parameters that determine an individual's choice of discipline by examining seven different fields at the undergraduate level. Our results show that the anticipated income variable is a determining factor in the choice of discipline. However, there is a significant difference between the impact that this variable has on each sex. Women are generally less affected by income variations than are men. We also find that substantial income variations would be necessary to attract some students (i.e. women) in fields of study that they are less likely to choose. Our results show also that there is a strong correlation between the parents' level of education and the children's choices, but this correlation is a function of the sex of both the parent and the child. Finally, we conclude that the choice of the field of study is weakly related to the acquisition of a student loan.

A complete version of this report is available, only in French, on the Web site of Industry Canada.

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